Switching energy suppliers: How much can I save if I switch?

13 May 2024 | Celia Topping

In the past, it was always cheaper to be on a fixed rate plan. But since the energy crisis, it has made financial sense to be on a standard variable rate tariff. This is the one people “roll onto” when a fixed rate plan ends.

In fact, almost every home in the UK is currently on a standard variable rate tariff. Because these plans are protected by an energy price cap. This means that supplier’s can’t charge more than a maximum amount for unit rates and standing charges as set by Ofgem.

The most important thing to know is that price-capped tariffs are variable, and the prices change every 3 months. So prices can go up or down in line with the cap. This means that, in the future, you could pay more or less in unit rates and standing charges than you’re paying now.

With fixed rate tariffs on the other hand, your unit rates and standing charges are guaranteed for an agreed amount of time – usually between 1 and 4 years. So you get protection against future price changes. This is great news if prices go up, but not such great news if prices go down. 

Now, it’s not totally straightforward to say which tariff is best for you, as it all comes down to your individual circumstances and preference. Many people like the predictability of a fixed rate plan, as they know what they’re paying for a set amount of time. While others are happy to stick with a standard variable rate plan in the hope that prices will further drop in the future. 

So if you’re one of the many on a standard variable rate tariff, you’re in a great position to shop around to see if you can find a better deal – as variable plans don’t have exit fees. 

First things first: how to compare energy suppliers

There are 2 ways to compare energy suppliers. You can go directly to the supplier’s website – or call them – to get a quote. Or you can use a price comparison website to compare many suppliers at once.

Getting a quote directly from the supplier

Switching should be straightforward, whichever supplier you choose. And at OVO, it takes under 2 minutes to get a quote and sign up. All we need to know is:

  • Where you live
  • Whether or not you own the property
  • How you want to pay – by Direct Debit, on demand, or pay as you go
  • Whether you’d like a quote for gas or electricity, or both
  • How much energy you use (if you know)
  • How many bedrooms you have 
  • And whether you own, lease or have an EV

You can then take your pick from the plans available to you, and start your switch.

Using a comparison site

If you want to compare many suppliers at once, you can use a price comparison website. These ones are accredited by Ofgem:

How to switch energy suppliers

Making the switch couldn’t be simpler. It’d be useful to have a recent energy bill to hand, but it’s not essential. So just follow these 6 easy steps:

  1. Check a recent energy bill to see how much you’re paying, and how much energy you’re using
  2. Go to different suppliers’ quotes pages or a comparison website and enter your details 
  3. They’ll come back immediately with a quote based on the average energy use of households in your area
  4. If you’re happy with the quote, they’ll just ask you for a bit more info, like your bank account details and your full address
  5. Sit back and leave the legwork to your new supplier
  6. Usually within 5 working days (unless a different date has been agreed with you) you’ll be switched to your new supplier, with no interruptions to your service

You don’t have to do a thing, apart from take a meter reading at the beginning of your contract. Your new supplier will take care of it all – but it’s important to note:

  • Your supply will continue uninterrupted during the switch
  • There’s no need for any work to be done inside or outside your home
  • Keep an eye out for your final bill from your old supplier – it'll tell you if you're owed any money back, or if there's an outstanding balance to clear

Fixed or variable? Energy tariffs explained

a family sitting on a sofa and smiling

Energy tariffs come in 2 basic types: fixed and variable. Find out the difference between them to help you understand which is best for you.

Fixed-rate tariff 

Fixed-rate tariff (also known as fixed-price or fixed energy): these plans give you peace of mind and protection against future price changes. Your unit price is fixed – that's your price per kWh. And your standing charge is fixed too – this is the price everybody pays for maintenance of things like pipes and meters. A fixed tariff can be a great option as it’s predictable, which in turn makes household budgeting simpler.

Variable-rate tariff

Variable rate tariff (also known as variable price or variable energy): prices could go up or down in line with energy prices. But with no fixed contract to tie you in, you’re free to change your plan whenever you like.

What is dual fuel?

A dual fuel package simply offers you gas and electricity from the same supplier. If you’re currently using different suppliers for your gas and electricity, switching to a dual fuel supplier could save you money.

Interested in switching to OVO? Take a look at our tariffs

Whether you’re looking for a variable rate or fixed rate plan – or maybe some smarter, greener add-ons, like Heat Pump Plus, Charge Anytime, and Greener Energy – we can help. 

Get a 2-minute quote and find out how we can make energy work better for you, your wallet, and the planet.

Tips for switching energy supplier and change your gas and electricity

There are a few things you might want to consider when you’re looking around:

  • Cheaper prices. This is usually the main motivation for switching. With a variety of suppliers on the market, you have nothing to lose by shopping around to see if you can save any money switching. You could even call your supplier and ask if they’re willing to match any other tariff you find. 
  • Customer service. As a customer you want to feel valued. Check customer satisfaction scores online, and talk to your friends and family about their experiences. 
  • Payment options. While looking to switch, the pay monthly Direct Debit option is often the cheapest method. 
  • Exit fees. Many suppliers charge a fee if you want to switch before the end of a fixed term contract. So always check how much you’ll need to pay if you want to move on.

If you want to see some of the key details of your current tariff, you can look at your Tariff Information Label. If you want to learn more, check out our guide to TILs and how they can help you compare your tariff.

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How much could you save? Get a quote

The best way to see how much you could save with OVO is to get an online quote – it takes less than 2 minutes.

OVO is on a mission to make energy better for you, your wallet and the planet. With lower rates, rewards and energy insights, we're working to help millions of customers use less. And we can help you too.

Why should I switch to OVO?

There are many reasons why you might like to put one of life’s essentials in our hands. But here are 3 highlights…

  • We plant 1 million trees a year. Each year, we plant 1 million trees across the UK to help absorb carbon1 – and create greener spaces for you to enjoy.
  • Trusted by millions of UK homes. We power millions of UK homes with energy. So you know for sure you’ll be in safe hands with us.
  • Easily manage your energy. Use our free mobile app to quickly check your balance, submit meter readings, and keep an eye on your energy use.

Interested in finding out more? See what we’re all about and get a quote in under 2 minutes.

Is it a good idea to switch energy supplier now?

Whether it's a good idea to switch energy suppliers now depends on your individual circumstances and the tariffs available to you. 

So it’s really important to take the time to compare energy suppliers and plans, and to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks. For example, with a fixed rate plan, you’ll get peace of mind over what you’ll pay for your energy and protection against future price changes. Whereas with a standard variable tariff, you get protection from Ofgem’s price cap – but your prices can go up as well as down.

Switching energy supplier when moving home

Moving home is meant to be one of life’s most stressful events. But the energy part of the move should be straightforward. All you have to do is:

  • Contact your current energy supplier before you move home. You can either close your account or take your tariff with you. If you’re still mid-contract on a fixed tariff, transferring could be the better solution to avoid paying exit fees.
  • Take a meter reading on your last day in your old home and send it to your supplier, whether you’re sticking with them or not. 
  • Tell your existing supplier your new address. That way, if you’re switching, they can send you a final bill, refund anything that’s owed, and (if needed) manage the transfer of your current contract. Or if you’re staying with them, it’ll help with a smooth transition. 
  • When you first move into your new home, take a meter reading. This will make sure you’ll get an accurate first bill from your existing supplier. If you’ve not transferred your old supplier, read our advice on how to find out who supplies your new home

For more information on setting up a new contract, check out our handy guide on how to set up electricity and gas in your new home.

Frequently asked questions about switching energy suppliers

Sources and references

1 OVO Energy plants 1 million trees across the UK each year with its tree planting partners, The Conservation Volunteers and the Woodland Trust. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so planting trees helps to slow down climate change.